EPISODE REVIEW: Krypton S01 EP03 – ‘The Rankless Initiative’

While Lyta-Zod attempts to use her newfound power to find a less violent method in the Sagitari’s hunt for members of the Black Zero terrorist group, Seg-El, Adam Strange, and Kem race to find Brainiac’s sentry before it can infect a host and feed him vital information about Krypton.

Krypton S1 EP03 – ‘The Rankless Initiative’
Written By: Nadria Tucker
Directed By: Steve Shill

What You Need To Know:

Seg-El, Adam Strange, and Kem have discovered a probe which has been sent down by Brainiac to gather information about Krypton. Lyta-Zod made a bid for the commandership of her Sagitari squadron and won, though she had to kill her late commander to win the post. Darron-Vex, Nyssa-Vex, and the Voice of Rao are working together in an attempt to control Seg so he doesn’t rebel the way his parents and grandfather did.

What You Will Find Out:

Once more picking up right where we left off last week, Seg-El and Adam Strange are in the Fortress of Solitude with the hologram of Seg’s grandfather, Val-El. They analyze it and discover that it’s a probe sent down by Brainiac, bearing a parasitical sentry that will find a host body upon release. Once it finds a host body, it’s meant to gather as much information as it can about Krypton and relay it all back to Brainiac, giving him all the knowledge he needs to decide whether or not to destroy the planet and add a city to his collection. Unfortunately for them, they discover that the sentry has already been released from the probe, and it could have infected anyone.

A flashback to three days before the current events show Rhom and Ona, the mother and daughter who had visited Seg to convey their condolences in the last episode, having dinner at the bar, supplied to them on Kem’s own dime, given how they’re currently having a rough time of it. Rhom promises to pay Kem back soon – she has a glamorous new job that will hopefully help her make ends meet. That job? Working with the salvage team in the Outlands, which is precisely where she finds the probe and gets infected by the sentry.


Cut back to the present and they’re trying to figure out who may have – and possibly be infected by – the sentry. While Strange goes to the bar to start searching for clues there, Seg uses his in with Lyta to see if the Sagitari has uncovered anything, only to discover that how and why Lyta got her new rank as commander.


While Seg and Strange conduct their searches, Rhom sells the casing that the sentry was into a black market vendor. Meanwhile, the Voice of Rao threatens Darron-Vex – either his rankless initiative brings in the Black Zero terrorists and their leader Jax-Ur, or Darron will have to pay.

Later, in a tactical meeting, Jayna-Zod explains to Darron, Dev-Em, and Lyta that all but one sector of the Rankless’ part of Kandor City has been searched, and they’re about to seal off the next and final part. Lyta, realizing that this is the sector that Seg lives in, tries to propose a different plan but is shut down. After the meeting, Dev and Lyta talk and she voices her concerns, and though he finds her concerns natural, he also believes that she shouldn’t show her concerns to those who serve under her. Hoping to wield her power in a different way than her predecessor, Lyta tells her squad that no innocent lives will be lost that day and that they ought to conduct themselves with honor.


Strange comes across the black market vendor and pretends to nonchalantly be browsing until he finds what he’s looking for – the sentry. Tricking the vendor, Strange steals it and runs to Seg. They move to go to the Fortress but run into the Sagitari, who are evicting all of the citizens in the sector, scanning each one and processing them. It is, of course, a struggle at first, and chaos reigns because the citizens of the sector want to be treated humanely and not like cattle. Seg forcefully tells Strange to go to the Fortress with the sentry before engaging Lyta in an argument about what’s going on. Lyta stands up for herself, telling him that she’s trying to make this situation as humane as possible, but this was going to happen no matter what.

While Val scans the sentry, Strange approaches him about his Zeta Beam projector, which is broken, conveniently trapping him on Krypton. Before Val can help, they discover that the sentry has already loosed the parasite, infecting someone.

The infected party, Rhom, is currently with her daughter Ona, dealing with the mess that is the Rankless Initiative. Rhom collapses in pain, and though Kem and Ona try to help, they’re interrupted by some of the Sagitari, who soon become sentry fodder because Rhom has given in to the sentry’s infection and is now superpowered. She stalks off to go find a way to give Brainiac the information he needs. Seg, finding out what has happened, follows.

While Seg follows Rhom, things get ugly with the Sagitari and the rankless. Many of them are shackled and bound, and they start interrogating them for the whereabouts of Jax-Ur and the other Black Zero terrorists. Kol-Da, one of the Sagitari, starts brutally questioning one of the shackled rankless, causing another one of the rankless to step out of line and stand up for him. Kol shoots the protestor dead, directly disobeying Lyta’s command about innocent lives being lost. Things escalate from there, but Lyta arrives and commands everyone to calm down. Learning what has happened, she has Kol arrested.


As Seg searches for Rhom, intending to save her, Strange explains that the most important thing is that she be stopped, not saved. Her one life doesn’t outweigh the many lives that could be lost if Brainiac decides to destroy Krypton. Unable to figure out where Rhom may have disappeared off to, he approaches Lyta and discovers that a communication hub has gone down. While the Sagitari believe this might have to do with Black Zero, Seg knows better and convinces Lyta to trust him and coaxes an EMP grenade away from her so that he can knock out all of the electronics in the hub. Though she has to disobey a direct order to help Seg out, Lyta agrees.

Seg gets into the communication hub to find a Rhom who is entirely under Brainiac’s thrall. They fight and Seg loses the EMP grenade. Seg tries to snap her out of the thrall, believing that there is still some Rhom beneath the surface, and finally gets through when he talks about Ona, Rhom’s daughter. It’s not much, but it’s enough for Seg to retrieve the EMP grenade and use it, blacking out the communications hub. Seg gets away with an unconscious Rhom while the Sagitari break into the hub, finding no one. Lyta finds Seg and Rhom, and Seg briefly fills her in on what’s going on – including the fact that Val was right about other life being out there in the universe.


Darron realizes that he has to tell the Voice of Rao that only one arrest was made in the Rankless Initiative, and that was the arrest of the Sagitari who shot an innocent man. It’s not a conversation he looks forward to.

Seg and Strange return to the Fortress, where Val surmises that the sentry infection is the only thing keeping Rhom alive. He also shares his belief that Rhom herself was the transmitter, and that Brainiac now has all the information he needs to decide whether or not he wants to destroy Krypton.

Predictably, he does, because the episode ends with Brainiac leering in close and saying that Krypton’s time is at its end.

What Just Happened?:

In many past depictions of Krypton, the planet has been shown to have a cold, sterile, very alien society. While the series has certainly started out with aspects of that society, the writers are also smartly weaving in themes and events that the viewer today is familiar with and can relate to, so that the Kryptonians don’t seem too alien. Until now, that has mostly focused on the differences between those who want society and government to be ruled by religious beliefs and those who want a less faith-based and more fact-based government, but in this last episode, the show visited the idea of police brutality by having Kol-Do shoot down a shackled, unarmed man who couldn’t possibly have posed a threat to her, no matter how much she insisted what she did was in self-defense and not cold blood. It’ll be interesting to see what other topics the writers decide to take from headlines and present in a Kryptonian setting, but it’s definitely a good move by them, allowing the viewer to relate more to the characters and society depicted.

Seg, Val, Strange, and Kem are cementing themselves into quite the team as they continue to work together. Strange is roguishly charming, Kem brings a good dose of warmth and humor, and Seg is a worthy predecessor to Superman. Having Strange stuck on Krypton for the time being is wise – how often was he expected to time travel two-hundred years in the past, otherwise? One wonders if Val is going to be able to help fix Strange’s situation or not, but given that the showrunners have hinted at Hawkwoman eventually being on the show, maybe she’s the one who will come into the past to retrieve him.

True to Jayna’s words last week, Lyta is finding out that life only gets harder once you have a squadron of your own to command. Though she’s more than up to the task, she has the odds stacked against her, since she’s one of the few people in Kandor City who want to do things the peaceful way, without alienating a big section of the citizens living there. While last week it was easy to see Lyta going in an ultimately dark direction, this week, she was very much pulled in the opposite direction. That push-and-pull between duty and her beliefs are likely going to take a toll on her – especially now that Lyta knows a little about what Seg is up to. She’s going to have to work harder to protect him, and she may very well fail at that.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thoughts: Krypton continues to improve with every episode, fleshing out the characters, their dynamics, and their world. While Brainiac is clearly the Big Bad for the season, it’d be nice to see him given a little more screen time so he isn’t merely a figurehead villain.

Krypton airs Wednesday nights on SyFy. Check your local listings for times.

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